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Trump's early appointments have climate change activists panicking

Former Vice President Al Gore speaks during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Nov. 7. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

President-elect Donald Trump's administration appointments seems to have a little bit of something for (and against) everyone. Consistent with his management style, Trump appears to have set up the inner ring of his administration to argue with one another about virtually every key policy issue.

Immigration hardliners applauded the selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general but were furious about the nomination of Hardee's CEO Andrew Puzdner to be labor secretary. Trump reportedly has selected ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson — who has been accused of being too friendly with Putin — as secretary of state but has also selected Russia hawk John Bolton to serve as his deputy.

However, there is one policy where Trump's picks have caused a  certain political group unalloyed heartburn: climate change. Although Trump raised eyebrows by taking a personal meeting with Al Gore last weekend— and despite the fact that his daughter Ivanka has publicly stated her desire to serve as climate change czar— Trump's appointments to key environmental positions have almost exclusively been climate change skeptics, including Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been tapped by Trump to head the EPA.

But the climate change skepticism does not end with Pruitt, as the Guardian notes:

The heads of Donald Trump’s transition teams for [NASA], the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy, as well as his nominees to lead the EPA and the Department of the Interior, all question the science of human-caused climate change, in a signal of the president-elect’s determination to embark upon an aggressively pro-fossil fuels agenda.

The liberal Guardian's coverage of Trump's transition effort with respect to climate change virtually drips with both contempt and alarm over the direction Trump is moving in:

Trump has assembled a transition team in which at least nine senior members deny basic scientific understanding that the planet is warming due to the burning of carbon and other human activity. These include the transition heads of all the key agencies responsible for either monitoring or dealing with climate change. None of these transition heads have any background in climate science.

Trump has also nominated Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA and is expected to pick congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to head the interior department. Pruitt has claimed that scientists “continue to disagree” about the causes and extent of global warming while McMorris Rodgers has said that former vice president Al Gore, who has championed climate action, “deserves an ‘F’ in science.”

The clear signal Trump has given is that he does not intend to make limiting carbon emissions a priority in his administration. Trump aggressively courted pro-coal and pro-oil voters on the campaign trail, and his early appointments indicate a willingness to follow through on his promise to remove regulatory burdens from the fossil fuel industry. If Rex Tillerson is indeed confirmed as secretary of state, Trump will have another close adviser who has been directly involved in the fossil fuel industry for years.

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